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Something to remember…

APAN: A school for life

The Nicaraguan Pro Help for Childhood Association (APAN), is a non-profit civil association located in the city of Diriamba (Nicaragua). It is an organization committed mainly to children and adolescents living in conditions of poverty and marginalization. For this reason, it administers projects that contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of children, adolescents and families, and therefore to community development.

It was there that, for three months, I developed my cooperation project: “Situation of families and the role of women in the community of Diriamba (Nicaragua). Needs analysis and training program”.

FAMILY. It constitutes the fundamental pillar of every society, and since what we intend with the cooperation is to improve the social net and to favor the development of the people who make up the society, my project is based on it.

THE WOMAN. The other axis of my study. In this case, the diriambina woman and the valuable role she plays in this whole vital network.

To this end, during my stay in Diriamba, I carried out various actions aimed at these two points of reference:

  • Implementation of the “School for Mothers and Fathers (MAPS)” program: Lectures were given in schools where mothers and fathers attended with their children to learn about maternity/paternity responsibilities and techniques of educational intervention.
  • Psycho-educational interventions, in groups and individually, in which we worked on topics such as domestic violence, behavioural problems, self-esteem, self-concept, drugs, dating, affective sexual education, decision-making, etc.
  • Training on HIV prevention, specifically “The correct use of condoms”, in different primary and secondary schools in Diriamba.

APAN, is a School for Life, and as such, has the complete dedication of people trained in the psycho-educational field, and above all, people who are an example of professionalism, perseverance, enthusiasm and courage.

Thanks to these people and their sincere support in every moment of my stay there, I was able to accomplish all the objectives set out in my project with complete satisfaction.

A place in the world

“Many small people, in small places, doing small things can change the world”…

It was these words of Eduardo Galeano that resonated in my head throughout my stay there, words that stopped being words to become reality.

They say that throughout life we come across experiences that we could call “Summit Experiences”. Experiences after which nothing is what it used to be, situations that mark a before and after? well, Diriamba was my summit.

The day dawned and with it my desire to explore, to immerse myself in the world that surrounded me. The road to APAN, to work… I never walked it with such illusion and joy! Each day was a new challenge, a new learning experience and a crazy desire to learn.

To learn from all the people who crossed my path, to learn from the mistakes, the successes, the experience and every little thing that here, in this world ruled by clocks and rush, we sometimes let pass without hardly showing attention, without dedicating the time that it deserves…

Learning that the conviction of a few people to fight for a utopia can make it worthwhile. All this without economic resources, without support, without strength at times, but equipped with two keys capable of opening any door: COMMITMENT AND PASSION.

Commitment…in everything they do to help in any way they can anyone who appears through the door, and Passion…to fight for people, to fight so that they become masters of their future, of their illusions…of their life.

The work is over and you return to your new home, with your family “Nica”. Those people who have welcomed you with open arms, offering you everything they have and making you feel at home every day.

 But the day doesn’t end here, and there is always time to be with family, to meet up with friends, to do crafts, or to stroll through those beautiful streets of Diriamba glimpsing colorful sunsets, electric storms or full moons that are unthinkable…

Rarely do you feel that you are in the perfect place, with the perfect people, at the perfect time and doing what you were born to do… that was for me that place in the world…

Cooperate: Union is strength.

The word cooperate is derived from the Latin cum, which means “with”, “together”; and operare, which means “to work”.

And that is our goal as cooperators, to work together with those people. There is something I want to make visible, now that I am given the opportunity. I believe that an essential aspect for any person who intends to carry out a project of this nature is not to forget the meaning of this word.

Cooperating does not mean imposing my way of thinking, my way of seeing, my way of doing, etc. Cooperation is something much more important. It is the opportunity to share points of view, thoughts, ways of acting, of working… in short, to empathize.

Empathizing implies “putting yourself in the other’s shoes” (as a Nicaraguan would say), and in this context, it is sometimes complicated to open our minds to new ideas, new ways of living that are so different from our own, and that is the challenge, the opportunity.

It is a great personal satisfaction to be part of a university community that advocates for these values, promoting the professional and personal development of its students, providing us with enough help to carry out projects and research that can have a very positive impact on students and university faculty.

Personally, as a teacher and psycho-pedagogue, this research, this field work, has served me to deepen my knowledge of other educational and social systems, from which we can extract very interesting aspects for our cultural enrichment in its broad spectrum.

Cooperation has been and is a fundamental aspect for any society, especially in times of crisis like this one, in which the only way to overcome the difficulties we face is by joining forces with a view to the same objective: to fight for a more just and humane world.

Victoria Soto Casado
Graduate in Psychopedagogy